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High-Tech Car-Sharing Project Begins Road Test

High-Tech Car-Sharing Project Begins Road Test

(March 24, 1999)

Riverside, Calif. - The IntelliShare Community Vehicle project, an automated car-sharing system using electric-powered vehicles for short trips, was officially launched today (Wednesday, March 24) by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

UCR will serve as a demonstration site for the program, which promotes car sharing to ease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution. A fleet of 15 Honda EV Plus electric vehicles will be available at three sites for short trips in and around Riverside.

"Growing populations, increasing congestion and environmental concerns are making our transportation challenges more complex," said Robert Bienenfeld, advanced environmental vehicle marketing manager for American Honda. "The IntelliShare community vehicle experiment is a way for Honda to help explore solutions that will enhance the efficiency and environmental responsibility of the transportation system."

As the first university in the United States using electric vehicles and multiple stations in a shared-car project, UCR is providing a "real world" test of the advanced transportation technology. Over the next year, UCR engineers will evaluate how IntelliShare works in an urban environment and refine the technology.

"Electric vehicles are well-suited for this type of shared-vehicle system that emphasizes short-range trips and provides many opportunities for recharging car batteries," said Matt Barth, director of the project and manager of transportation systems research at UCR's College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). "Our computerized simulations have shown that IntelliShare is viable. But there are limits to what can be simulated. We need to actually put the system into operation to see how people will use it."

Shared vehicle systems are based on the concept of public car sharing where different drivers have access to a fleet of vehicles they can use during the day. IntelliShare is a keyless system that does not require advance reservations. Using an automated, touch-screen computer and smart card, a registered driver can quickly check out a car to do an errand or to drive to another location in the system.

IntelliShare is designed as a local community transportation system using electric vehicles. By integrating electric vehicles with private cars and public transportation, such systems help reduce miles driven in conventional gasoline-powered cars, thus r educing tailpipe emissions that contribute to the formation of smog. And, car-sharing systems help alleviate traffic congestion and parking crunches, all without making transportation any less convenient.

The Honda EV Plus cars used in the UCR study are stationed at three locations - the College of Engineering on campus, the University Village entertainment-retail-office complex near campus, and CE-CERT located about three miles from campus. Initially, students, staff and faculty members at the engineering college, CE-CERT and the accounting office are permitted to use the system. Other campus users - more than 200 in all - may be added later.

Because it is a demonstration project, trips up to one hour in length can be made at no cost to users. A $5 charge for each additional half hour will be applied.

A central control system at CE-CERT monitors the location and battery-charge status of each vehicle using advanced vehicle monitoring technology. From that data, engineers will insure that the vehicles are more or less evenly distributed among the three locations. "A potential problem of shared-vehicle systems is having too many vehicles in one location, and not enough in the other locations. So, we will have a staff member monitor the system and relocate vehicles as needed," said CE-CERT engineer Michael Todd.

Honda is sponsoring CE-CERT to use UCR as a demonstration site for IntelliShare, providing about $500,000 in research funding, 15 of the automaker's four-seat electric cars and the automaker's own research expertise.

"We have been developing computerized simulation models of shared vehicle systems for more than two years now," Barth said. "One of the goals is to determine if the assumptions made by the computer work in the real world."

CE-CERT and Honda engineers, along with student researchers, will compare IntelliShare with their computer simulations in order to refine the software so it can accurately predict how the system would work in other locations.

Many shared vehicle systems exist, particularly in Europe. However, only a few have applied advanced transportation technology, such as vehicle tracking, smart card registration and computer-managed relocations, according to Barth. This emerging transportation technology should make shared vehicle systems more efficient and user-friendly, he said.

IntelliShare is one of many research projects underway at CE-CERT, a center of UCR faculty members, staff scientists and students that develops new technologies to reduce air pollution and evaluates the impact of proposed environmental regulations. The center's wide-ranging research agenda encompasses developing autonomous vehicles, converting biomass such as yard waste into methanol, modeling how pollutants behave chemically in the atmosphere, evaluating with computer models the impact of roadway improvements on air quality, and improving alternative-fueled vehicles.

For more information on IntelliShare, log into the CE-CERT web site at The followiing print-quality images are available for download. The retrieve, click on the the desire image. Please be aware that these images are quite large and, depending on the speed of your modem, may take several minutes to download.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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